Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Tea with Benedict Cumberbatch

As I was scrolling through Instagram, an advertisement came up that showed a picture of Benedict Cumberbatch drinking tea, with the headline: Drink tea with Benedict Cumberbatch and attend the Avengers: Infinity War premiere. After further investigation, I realised that in order to be considered for this incredible opportunity, one must first make a donation to GEANCO, a charity that helps raise money for scholarships for students in need, surgeries, and maternal and infant health programs in Nigeria. If you make a donation, your name is entered into the draw to win Tea with Benedict Cumberbatch. 

This campaign is using the norm of reciprocity, which states that people are more likely to do something for someone else if they get something in return (Groves, Cialdini, & Couper, 1992). In this case, by donating to GEANCO, the individual has a chance to have tea with Benedict Cumberbatch, as well as a ticket to Infinity Wars. 

Additionally, the more money you donate to GEANCO, the more times your name gets entered into the draw, and therefore the more likely you are to win. This campaign is therefore making use of the “foot in the door” effect. This is when a small request is made before asking for more and more (Chan et al., 2011). Because the person has already agreed to it once, they are more likely to continue to agree to more things after that (Chan et al, 2011). For example with this advertisement, if you donate $10 you get your name entered 100 times into the draw. However, they go on to say if you donate $50, your name is put in the draw 1000 times. $10 was the foot in the door request, because they later asked for more money. A reader would be more likely to donate $50 now because they already agreed to donating $10, and GEANCO gets more money. 


Chan, Annie. Cheuk-ying ., & Au, Terry. Kit-fong. (2011). Getting Children to Do More Academic Work: Foot-in-the-Door versus Door-in-the-Face. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 982-985.

Groves, R. M., Cialdini, R. B., & Couper, M. P. (1992). Understanding the decision to participate in a survey. Public opinion quarterly, 56, 475-495.

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